Mark Lange, president and chief executive officer for the National Cotton Council of America, is among those selected to provide input to a public workshop of The Commission on the Application of Payment Limits for Agriculture on June 17.

Commission Chairman Keith Collins said the panel is seeking more detailed information on the effects of tighter payment limitations, and agricultural program experts have been invited to present their views on the topic.

Lange, an economist who previously directed the NCC's Economic Services Department, said his presentation will focus on “the potential for extraordinary damage to U.S. agriculture and our rural economy from arbitrary and unwarranted limits that deny eligibility for farm program benefits in a global arena that is replete with subsidies.

“Such unilateral limitations have the effect of constraining the productive power of U.S. agriculture,” Lange noted. “Any reduction in agricultural productivity has a profound impact on all sectors of U.S. agriculture as resources are pushed to less rewarding activities, and all consumers face higher prices for agricultural commodities.”

The 2002 farm bill created the Commission to conduct a study on the potential impacts of further payment limitations on agricultural producers and others. The Commission has met several times since January 2003 and solicited written public comments during February 2003.

At its most recent meeting, the Commission concluded that input from agricultural program experts would be important as it completes its assessment. The Commission is scheduled to complete its study after the public workshop.

Other experts invited to make presentations include: representatives from the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute, University of Missouri and Iowa State University; Bruce Gardner, distinguished university professor, University of Maryland; Roger Johnson, commissioner of Agriculture, State of North Dakota; Daryll Ray, professor and Blasingame Chair of Excellence, and director of the Agricultural Policy Analysis Center, University of Tennessee; and Daniel Sumner, professor and Frank H. Buck, Jr. chair in Agricultural Business, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California, Davis, and director of the Agricultural Issues Center, University of California.

Each presenter will provide comments to the Commission followed by questions from and discussion with the Commission. After the presentations, there will be an opportunity for members of the public to provide comments. The workshop will be held in room 107-A at the USDA Whitten Building, Jefferson Drive, Washington, D.C. from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. June 17. To register to attend, call or email Shirley Brown at (202) 720-4164 or shirley.brown@usda.gov.